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updated: 1/12/2014 2:34 PM

Cold delays 70 mph sign installation

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- Last week's frigid and snowy weather has delayed installing signs along Illinois interstates and tollways increasing the speed limit to 70 mph, state transportation officials said.

A new law took effect Jan. 1 that increases the maximum speed limit on tollways and interstate highways in Illinois to 70 mph from 65 mph. Illinois Department of Transportation officials hoped to install about 900 new 70-mph signs by Jan. 17.

"Statewide, there has been a delay in getting those signs up," IDOT spokeswoman Paris Ervin told Lee Enterprises Newspapers.

That's because the crews in charge of switching the speed limit signs were busy with other tasks. IDOT had 1,755 trucks assigned to snow duty statewide and 3,700 full- and part-time employees were available to clear roads.

"The recent winter storm was top priority for our operations crews, but now that the weather has improved, starting next week, we hope to get more 70-mph signs erected throughout the state," Ervin said.

State officials have asked drivers not to start driving 70 mph until the new signs are installed. It will cost about $200,000 to update the signs.

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